Raise The Bar - Landfill Avoiding Coffee Scrub Bars

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Okay you guys know how much I love avoiding landfill, and businesses who can divert waste products from going to landfill, will forever have my heart. So I was so excited to learn about Raise The Bar - a creative business making exfoliating scrub bars from reclaimed coffee grounds - rescued from coffee shops that were otherwise destined for landfill.

Coffee is great for the skin - and leaves it feeling invigorated. Personally, my showering / bathing rituals are pretty minimal. I have a soap bar, a shampoo bar and a little bottle of rose geranium oil for making baths smell like magic. I was definitely on the hunt for something extra though to give my skin a bit more love. Being a potter, my hands and arms in particular get very dry and this bar was so nourishing. Not only exfoliating, but it was intensely moisturising as well. Plus, it smells amazing.. the one I use is the beautiful mint scent which is newly launched and smells just like peppermint chocolate. It was hard not to want to eat this beautiful bar!

I asked the lovely creator behind You Raise The Bar (Bronte) about her business and to give us some insight on the how, who and why. Read on to find out more about this eco conscious brand :)

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What are your brand values?

Rethink, repurpose, revolutionise!

How/why did you start your business?

When I learned about the amount of used coffee grounds going to landfill in Australia every year, I started to think about my morning coffee a little differently. That’s a whole lot of landfill piling up and contributing to harmful greenhouse gases.

I wanted to do something about it so I started collecting used grounds from local cafes and experimenting with making natural skincare products at home to repurpose the coffee grounds.

Raise The Bar is about contributing to a world with less waste, and where the circular economy is flourishing. So why not start with one of the most wasteful industries in the world? The beauty industry and all it’s overpackaging. That’s why I made a conscious choice to create solid products which need minimal packaging and zero plastic.

Above all, I want to help spread awareness and start conversations about waste and show the things we throw out often have a lot left to give.

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When did you start your business, and do you operate full time/part time?

I started making products at home with repurposed coffee grounds back in 2016 and it took me nearly 2 years of tinkering before I launched in October 2018 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. It’s a side-hustle that hopefully I will be able to take full time before the end of 2019.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your business?

Well it all starts with the used coffee grounds which we repurpose in our products. I’ve had many people say that rescuing waste coffee grounds is ‘too hard’ and ‘don’t do it’. But you know what was equally hard and energy intensive - growing the coffee in the first place, peeling the coffee husk, drying the coffee, sending the beans around the world, roasting the beans, grinding the beans all so it could end up in our cups. Giving waste coffee grounds a second life seems completely worth it to stop all of that from have been in vain. So sustainability is wrapped up in everything we do. Our packaging is the next big thing and we have made a commitment to minimal packaging and no plastic. Then there is ingredients sourcing, which is hugely difficult to navigate when you are first starting out since it’s hard to get a grasp on the full supply chain of your ingredients - and that’s something I think all brands continue to work on. We use Better Packaging Co for our mailing satchels and Sendle for deliveries - two sustainable businesses I admire.

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How do you package orders?

Our products are packaged in cardboard boxes that can be composted, or recycled if composting is not an option. At markets we sell our products naked (no packaging).

How do you incorporate sustainability into your own life/day to day?

Sustainability is such a moving target isn’t it? And I think that’s the biggest thing for me - just continually learning and improving. Waste reduction is obviously a passion, so I’m always looking for areas in my life where I can eliminate waste - something that has been quite challenging with a 3 year old around. It helps that my work and personal life are following the same values as whatever I’m learning I can put into both. I absolutely agree what Anne-Marie Bonneau says - “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” Something else big for me has been making sure my personal finances and superannuation are not funding fossil fuels and making switches to better options.

What is your background?

I’ve had a huge social entrepreneur role model in my life - my mum Natalie Isaacs set up her own organic aromatherapy skincare business before I was born, when she was about the same age I am now, and then when I was a teenager she reinvented herself entirely and founded the women’s mass movement for action on climate change, 1 Million Women, which she still leads. Her journey has greatly inspired me and my passion for sustainability, and business as a force for good.

Raise The Bar is definitely a business I feel good about supporting - we need more circular economy driven businesses out there using waste products to create magic. So spoil yourself and grab one of their bars, and a handful more for friends and fam too - they make great gifts!!

You can follow Bronte’s journey on instagram here or checkout her website here.

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Sally Flannery